Austin J. Moccia is chairman of the Albion College Conservatives
The government “shutdown,” as a label, is a political pejorative. In actuality only seventeen percent of the federal government was actually shutdown as a result of partisan disagreement. However, the question remains amidst the settling of the political fallout; who is to blame? Both parties concomitantly absolve themselves of blame for this incident, and project it onto on another as a means of rationalizing their respective logic. However, in my perspective, both parties are responsible in some form, President Obama included.
Republicans are partially responsible in the sense that the debt ceiling was utilized as a means of preventing the implementation of the notoriously disastrous and wealth-redistributive “Obamacare” plan—instead of simply permitting the law to run its course, and in doing so elucidate the inherent failure that defines this legislation as anathema to American conceptualizations of individual autonomy. Whether it constitutes truculence or patriotism that motivated the Republican recalcitrance to sign any budget with Obamacare funding within it, the result was the same in the sense that it offered the left unsubstantiated political ammunition while concurrently risking a budget default which investors and corporations alike wished to avoid.
Democrats by contrast are axiomatically responsible in the sense that had they been receptive to the 57 percent of American citizens who blatantly oppose Obamacare (CNN October 2013 Poll), and had they not originally negotiated this bill amongst themselves within surreptitious closed-door meetings, there would be no need to refuse funding to government—since there would be no threat of Obamacare being imposed upon to middle class Americans who may either be stripped of, or severely taxed for, their existing healthcare plans.
Perhaps the most inflammatory aspect, in terms of disingenuous rhetoric, emerged when Barack Obama utilized the debt ceiling debate to lambaste conservatives, labeling the shutdown the “Republican government shutdown”. While this would be permissible, if not condonable in the sense that the President naturally disagrees with Republican views, the manner in which the shutdown was manipulated by the Obama Administration at the expense of American citizens was deceptive. For example, the Obama Administration ordered open air monuments blockaded off to tourists and the American public—despite the fact that these monuments by nature have negligible operating cost.
In essence, this tactic by Barack Obama was tendentious and specifically designed to illicit a prescribed response of emotional distress in the American citizenry, attempting to manipulate Americans into believing the shut-down was far worse than in actuality, thus helping substantiate the otherwise specious rhetoric that the shutdown was devastating. Unfortunately for the Obama Administration, the closure of open-air monuments was revealed for what it was—a deceit perpetrated upon the American public. When all was said and done, the aspect of America which suffered the greatest casualty was not an aspect of government, but the precipitous erosion of Americans’ confidence in the integrity of the federal government as a result of these actions.
I espouse the notion that despite weeks of partisan rhetoric, gamesmanship, and patently unsubstantiated rhetoric emerging from both sides, the so-called “deal” was in itself not conducive to a conclusion, but rather a catalyst to another event of political theatre to be determined at a later date. Unfortunately, the deal that was ultimately reached was deficient in satisfying even the minimal responsibility of the federal government; passing a balanced budget. Instead, Congress succumbed to the President’s insistence of furthering the self-perpetuating trend of reckless, tax and spend policies which mortgage the financial security of succeeding generations. While one could logically argue that President Obama emerged victorious in preserving his signature achievement of implementing government run healthcare, the only incontrovertible “winner or loser” would be the American people—who lost.
Photo via TheAgency, Wikimedia Commons